BELVIDERE – The DeKalb boys basketball team stayed with top-seeded Huntley for three quarters, but the fourth proved to be too much. Huntley held off the Barbs, 58-45, ending their season.
The Barbs (13-18) knew they would have their hands full with Huntley’s leading scorer and D-I Belmont-bound Amanze Egekeze. They were able to hold Egekeze to 11 points, and seemed to have him frustrated for most of the night.
Egekeze picked up his fourth foul with 6:11 left in the third quarter, forcing coach Marty Manning to send him to the bench.
“I’m not a big proponent of taking people out with foul trouble,” Manning said. “However, four fouls with six minutes left in the third? That’s a different story.”
Junior guard Dre Brown had one mission, which was to disrupt Egekeze’s every move on the court.
“He’s a good player,” Brown said of Egekeze. “I just tried to be physical with him. I’m a football player and I can use some of that toughness on the court.”
DeKalb believed they did all they could and just fell short. Their game plan, especially for certain Huntley players, was executed how they wanted.
“Dre played phenomenally all night on him [Egekeze],” Barbs coach Dave Rohlman said. “I don’t think he will get enough credit for just how hard he played. Amanze is a great player, and we wanted to double him and just show him different looks throughout the night.”
What DeKalb wasn’t prepared for were Huntley seniors Zach Gorney and Riley Wicks, who lead the Red Raiders (20-7) with 19 and 14 points, respectively. Wicks, who had a 9-point third quarter with Egekeze on the bench, proved huge for Huntley.
The Barbs were led by sophomore forward Luke Davis III, who had 17 points, including 5-5 from the free throw line.
“My lefty hook move was working for me tonight,” Davis III said. “We made some runs to make it close but they just got the best of us tonight.”
DeKalb led 20-17 at the half, and looked to be in a good spot once Egekeze picked up his fourth foul. The last lead for the Barbs was 25-23 after a converted basket and the foul from senior Micah Fagerstrom.
Huntley then regained the lead on a 3-pointer from senior Kyle Slonka and never trailed again.
The Red Raiders will take on either Jefferson or Rockford East in the regional championship game on Friday night at Belvidere North High School.